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THE ISSUE: -- The county officially dedicated two parks last week: the first two phases of Western Regional Park in Glenwood and Meadowbrook Park in Ellicott City. If you have been to either park, what do you think? And if you haven't, do you plan to use the county's newest facilities?

Western Regional a great use of land

Western Regional Park is a beautiful facility. We have used it quite a lot this spring. Not only does the park provide much needed space for the ever expanding sports needs of the county, it preserves the feel of the country.

This part of Howard County has not yet suffered the overdevelopment seen in the rest of the county. I think the development of Western Regional Park is a great way to use the land without cramming more giant houses into the serene farm landscape.

Mimi Ringstad Woodstock

Watch your kids at Meadowbrook

My husband and I took our two young boys, a 5-year-old and an 18-month-old, to the dedication of Meadowbrook Park on Saturday afternoon. We arrived at the perfect time - just after the official ceremony had ended.

Since Meadowbrook's playground is visible from the road that connects Long Gate Parkway to Route 100, we had driven past it many times during construction, and I had looked forward to trying out what appeared to be a very cool place for my boys to play. As soon as we got there, I watched my 5-year-old take to it immediately - he ran happily through the maze of bridges, platforms, and tunnels, stopped at several of the steering wheels available for spinning, and took many trips down one of the serpentine slides. Under my husband's close supervision, our toddler did his best to keep up with his big brother.

Close supervision of all children is especially important at the Meadowbrook playground. An adult could easily lose track of a child in the large, complex main structure of the playground. The Meadowbrook playground is unique among the playgrounds we've visited in Ellicott City and Elkridge in that it is connected by walkways to a Park 'n' Ride lot; therefore, it is much more easily accessible by people who aren't making a special trip to get to it than other playgrounds in the area, like those at Rockburn or near the east entrance of Centennial Park. Meadowbrook's playground is similar to others in the area in that there is no fencing or other apparent effort at keeping the playground area secure, either to help keep children in or keep unwanted visitors out.

Although we will be returning to the Meadowbrook playground, I'll be sure to again have a trusted adult with me, so that we have a one-to-one adult to child ratio for the security of my boys. I would strongly encourage other parents planning to visit the playground at Meadowbrook Park to make certain that they will also be able to closely monitor their children while there.

Heather Tom Ellicott City

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